Food student Jayne Bennett spent half of her placement on an American study exchange before returning to the UK’s food industry for a further six months, ending the year with a trip to China!
“As I jetted off to the USA to begin my placement year, I was both anxious and excited, as I had never in a million years expected to be doing something as adventurous as this. I arrived at my new home in Ithaca, New York, ready to start my semester at Cornell University – the 18th best university in the world. I felt very lucky to have this opportunity.
“At first I was overwhelmed with the size of the campus and the 22,000 students and staff that filled it. But as I made friends with people from all over the world Ithaca began to feel much smaller and much more like home.
“I majored in Food Science whilst at Cornell but also got to dip into subject areas that I had always been interested in but never had the opportunity to study before, including psychology and even yoga. I saw a large local dairy farm which was a great learning experience. I was also able to watch the talented Cornell sports teams including ice-hockey, basketball and baseball.
“After classes I canoed and hiked with friends in the glorious lakes and gorges around the campus. In the fall and winter breaks I travelled to Boston, Niagara Falls, Montreal, Miami and New York City amongst other places.
“Back in the UK I began my second work placement at Bakkavor Bread in Cheshire, a supplier of chilled speciality breads to the major retailers in the UK with an 80% share of the market. In the New Product Development department I was able to apply and build upon my knowledge learnt at both Harper Adams and Cornell Universities.
“I worked on projects including the launch of several new product ranges for leading UK retailers; a particular highlight was being involved in launching a range of chilled breads for Waitrose 1, the company’s new top tier range. I also went to Bakkavor’s head office in London to showcase the new products to the company’s board of directors and investors.
“My final placement year experience was traveling to China on a two-week cultural exchange programme at Beijing Agricultural University. Here I was immersed in Chinese culture including language, calligraphy, food; tea art, beautiful architecture, and industry. It was a fantastic learning experience due to the vast differences in our cultures. Particular highlights were walking the Great Wall of China, learning how to make some traditional Chinese dishes and making friends with the Chinese students who will spend a year studying at Harper.”
Jayne also took a trip to New Zealand for her final year research project, made possible after winning two scholarships through Harper Adams.